The first time I encountered wild garlic was on a walk along the river near Cromford Mill. We came round a corner and into a heady ether of garlic fumes rising from a huge patch of beautiful white flowers, looking almost like a dusting of snow over their glossy green leaves. It was a stunning sensory experience.
Since then every time I spot wild garlic I try to remember for the following spring so that I can harvest some. Its taken five years, and a house move, for me to manage it.
This year, we’ve been out and about more than usual and I’ve become much more familiar with our local habitats and patches. There’s one on the way to school and another on the path through woods to our town park.
Last week, we went and picked some, only to get home and wonder what to do with it. We garnished salmon pasta and sesame sticky chinese chicken.
Having gone back for some more, large boy and I set about making some pesto.
We’re going to make the family classic of pasta pesto with peas and chicken on Monday night. Thus large boy will tick off a task for his Cubs chef badge (as well as communicator and naturalist).
150g wild garlic (makes loads, 2 jam jars) you can also use mustard garlic aka Jack by the Hedge. See below for a picture of wild garlic to help you identify it.
50g finely grated parmesan
50g pine nuts
A squirt of garlic purée
1/2 lemon zest and juice
150ml walnut oil (or rapeseed, olive, or whatever)
Put everything except the oil in a big food processor and whizz until quite smooth. Then add the oil and whizz some more.
Should keep for 2 weeks in the fridge, so put it in some smaller jars and share with your friends and neighbours.
This made two decent-sized jam jars for us, if we’d used supermarket pesto jars it would easily have done four I think. The colour is stunning!